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  WINDY CITY TIMES

New military policy keeps HIV-positive service members deployable
2022-06-09

This article shared 609 times since Thu Jun 9, 2022
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A new Defense Department policy allows HIV-positive service members with an undetectable viral load to not only stay in uniform but remain deployable, Military Times reported.

New guidance laid out in a memo released June 7 reverses a previous policy that allowed commanders to involuntarily separate troops with HIV, prevent them from deploying—which can result in a discharge on its own—and prevent enlisted troops from attending officer candidate school and earning a commission.

In the memo, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin cites "significant advances in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of" HIV as the impetus for the policy change.

"The light at the end of the tunnel is shining a little brighter today for people living with HIV who want to serve in the United States Armed Forces," said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings in a statement Windy City Times received. "We are delighted that the Biden administration has made clear that it will no longer defend these discriminatory policies in our courts and that the [Department of Defense] has made long-overdue changes to regulations affecting service members living with HIV. While there is still more work to be done for all people living with HIV who wish to serve, this marks a significant step forward."

A 2019 report by the Congressional Research Service found that about 350 service members are annually diagnosed with HIV, equaling 27-per-100,000 troops.


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